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Social Work Major, B.A.

Director: Joy Swanson Ernst

The social work program is accredited for undergraduate social work education by the Council on Social Work Education. The social work major, based on a foundation in the liberal arts, provides professional preparation for employment in social work, social services and other fields of human service. Graduates are prepared for generalist social work practice, useful in a variety of practice settings, including child welfare, corrections, services to older adults, community organization, mental health, family services and health services.

Beyond the liberal arts core, students majoring in social work must complete courses in four basic sequences: human behavior and the social environment, social research, social policy and social service institutions and social work methods. Particularly important is the field practicum during senior year, where students apply social work theories of practice and research in one of a variety of settings. Specific practice settings vary each year, but may include child welfare or adult care in county departments of social service, corrections settings, school-based services for middle school and high school age youth, long term care facilities, assisted living centers and mental health services. The choice of field setting is tailored to interests and learning needs of individual students. Often the field experience leads to employment upon graduation. In addition, successful completion of the undergraduate degree may result in advanced standing for graduate social work studies.

The College does not award credit through portfolio evaluation for social work courses. The program actively subscribes to Hood’s policies regarding nondiscrimination in employment and student admissions.

Requirements for the Major

The social work major requires foundation courses from a number of different liberal arts disciplines plus specialized social work courses, including one elective in social work and one from the list of recommended electives in a social or behavioral science. Many of the foundation courses meet Core Curriculum requirements. (Note: Social work students must gain an understanding of biological development across the life span. At Hood, this requirement is fulfilled with BIOL 132 or BIOL 138. Coursework completed at other colleges will satisfy this requirement only if exclusively devoted to human biology.)

A grade of “C-” or above is required in all courses with a SOWK prefix and in SOC 260 and SOC 261.

Foundation Courses
  • BIOL 132 Biology of Aging or BIOL 138 The Human Health Mosaic
  • ECON 205 Principles of Macroeconomics or SOC 300 Social Inequality
  • SOC 101 Principles of Sociology
  • SOC 215 Social Problems
  • SOC 260 Methods of Social Research
  • SOC 261 Quantitative Methods for the Social Sciences
Social Work Courses
  • SOWK 201 Introduction to Social Work and the Human Services
  • SOWK 301 Social Policy and Human Service Programs
  • SOWK 342 Social Work Methods I
  • SOWK 345 The Human Lifecycle and the Social Environment
  • SOWK 442 Social Work Methods II
  • SOWK 445A, B Social Work Field Practice
  • SOWK 446A, B Social Work Field Practice
  • SOWK 452 Seminar on the Social Work Profession
Social Work Electives: Select one.
  • SOWK 214 Child Welfare: Policies and Services
  • SOSW 217 Juvenile Delinquency
  • SOSW 312 Addictions
  • SOWK 327 Gerontological Social Work: Policy and Practice
  • SOWK 330 Social Work with Families
  • SOWK 333 The Fields of Social Service
Recommended Electives: Select one.
  • ANTH 201 Introduction to Anthropology
  • PSY 204 Psychology of Death
  • PSY 208 Psychology of Adolescence
  • PYSO 221 Social Gerontology
  • PSY 239 Human Development II: Adulthood and Aging
  • PSY 373 Psychology of Aging
  • PSY 431 Abnormal Psychology
  • SOC 216 Criminology
  • SOC 300 Social Inequality (if not taken to fulfill a foundation course for the major)
  • SOC 311 Sociology of Gender
  • SOC 318 Global Social Problems
  • SOC 353 Deviance and Social Control
Screening for Social Work Major

Students wishing to major in social work must apply for and be accepted into the program in order to formally declare the major. Each spring, assessment of student qualifications is conducted by the social work faculty and members of the program’s advisory committee. Each student must have completed SOWK 201 with a grade of “C+” or better and have an overall minimum G.P.A. of at least 2.5. Students are evaluated on the basis of their emotional maturity and stability, as evidenced by a personal statement, an in-person interview and an evaluation by a supervisor for the volunteer experience (required for SOWK 201). Students who do not wish to major in social work or who are not accepted into the program may choose the minor, pre-professional practice in social work.